Live Chat Software

5 Common Furnace Problems

Winter weather, as beautiful as it is, can be cold and dreary for weeks on end. Trees are bare, the sky is grey, and the weather tends to be wet even if it isn’t snowing. When it’s overcast and frigid, we retreat to our homes where the furnace gifts our lives with the perfect range of warmth and humidity. The electric lights also help to keeps things cheery.

But what happens when the furnace breaks down? Our cheerful homes take on a more somber note while we wait for repairs. But, if you take the time to look into what’s wrong, you can speed up the process or fix it yourself, restoring the comfort of your home. So let’s take a look at the 5 most common problems you’ll find with your furnace this winter.

1. Filters and Dirty Air

Honestly, this is the most common problem you’ll find because it’s easy to forget and doesn’t stop your furnace from working. If you’ve noticed an increased amount of dust in your home or if you find yourself sneezing a lot more than you’re used to, try checking the filter for your furnace.

Your furnace filter needs to be replaced every three to six months for the most efficient use of your furnace. It’s best to write down the current date on your new filter when you replace it. If it’s been more than six months since the last time you replaced your ventilation system’s filter, then it’s time to do so.

Clean filters improve the air in your home by filtering out dust and contaminants that can aggravate allergies and increase how often you need to clean your home. A clean filter will also improve the energy efficiency of your furnace. Filter replacements are always win/win.

2. Thermostat Problems

There are times when your furnace is working just fine, but the house is still cold. As the temperature drops, if aren’t hearing the satisfying noise of heat flowing into the room, it may be a problem with your thermostat. Of course, the first thing to check is whether or not the thermostat is actually programmed to turn on. Make sure it’s set to heat and that it’s set to automatic.

Give the thermometer a quick glance as well. If it feels like it’s 15 F in the room, but the thermostat is showing 75, then it’s time to replace it. Of course, be aware that placing a space heater in the same room as the thermostat will affect its ability to regulate and monitor house temperature.

3. No Heat, Just Air

There are times when everything sounds functional, but the cold breeze blowing from the vent says otherwise. We should note that many furnaces distribute air at around 90 F, which is cooler than the average human body temperature. It might feel cold, but unless you room is actually failing to warm up, it’s still working properly. You can also check the thermostat to make sure it isn’t set to “fan.” The fan setting will simply redistribute air by keeping the blower fan active rather than heating the room.

Otherwise there isn’t anything left to heat the circulated air. If you’re using a fuel-fed furnace, check your fuel levels. Hopefully a quick call for refueling is all you need to get the furnace running again.

If your fuel levels are fine, or you own an electric furnace, you’ll need to look at the heating for the source of the problem. In an electric furnace you’ll want to consult a furnace technician for this, as it’s difficult to diagnose the problem otherwise. For fuel furnaces, take a look at the pilot light. If it isn’t triggering, and you have a full-fuel tank, shut down the furnace and fuel-feed immediately. A failed pilot light will require a technician but you don’t’ want to be leaking gas into the home while you wait for service.

4. Fan Isn’t Working

Of course, when air simply isn’t flowing from the vent, and you know the furnace is working otherwise, the most likely problem is a non-functional blower fan. Mechanical issues like these are best left to professional technicians. Besides, calling in a professional will often include additional benefits such as extra maintenance on the blower fan bearings or a quick inspection of other parts in the system to look for wear and tear.

5. Constant Cycling

Regular cycling of your system is harder to diagnose. When a furnace is cycling it means that it’s struggling to regulate the temperature in your home. Air flow may be a problem so check for closed vents or replace your air filter. Lowering the temperature helps your furnace to run more efficiently because it won’t have to work as hard (you’ll save money too).

Many causes of the continuous cycling are mechanical in nature. Faulty switches, overburdened blower fans, and poor fuel mixes in the furnace. Unfortunately, these fixes are not so simple and can require replacements for motors or thermostats. At this point, it’s best to call a professional technician to diagnose the problem.


If you need help detecting air leaks and other sources of inefficiencies in your home, call your home comfort experts at (217) 866-1596 for your Free Whole Home Inspection and Analysis. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you might have.

We also offer an ongoing Home Maintenance Plan to help ensure you not only have regular heater/furnace maintenance and tune-up checks, but also saves your money!

Cassel Home Comfort Heating & Cooling, situated in the Champaign IL, is committed to being your best HVAC contractor choice in Central Illinois in both Value and Customer Service!

Categories: